Date/Time Event
Monday, 25th February
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Milkman, by Anna Burns - Five Leaves open book group FULLY BOOKED

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Milkman sold more copies at Five Leaves in the five days after the Booker announcement than any of the previous winners over a whole year, possibly lifetime sales.  It’s set in Northern Ireland, at the height of the Troubles.

This novel is not difficult, though it demands attention. Here’s the Guardian review:

Five Leaves book group is an open group. You are welcome to attend once or as often as you like! The meetings are free and refreshments are provided. All we ask is that you read the book in advance. There’s always a (rather) short introduction by one of the group or a member of Five Leaves staff to get the discussion going.

For the avoidance of doubt, Anna Burns is not attending!

Let us know you are coming on

You can source the book wherever you like, but in the lead up to the book group we discount the relevant book by 15%.

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 26th February
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Bethlehem: biography of a town, with Nicholas Blincoe

 Nicholas Blincoe lived in in Bethlehem for over twenty years. He is a novelist, playwright and screenwriter and is currently a critic and leader writer for the Daily Telegraph.

Tickets: £3 on the door, including refreshments. Booking essential on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 27th February
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Nottingham Rainbow Heritage

Celebration flyer 2019Nottingham Rainbow Heritage is an annual celebration of local LGBT success – whether they be football teams, organisations of Trans’ youth, LGBT-friendly workplaces and many more. Five Leaves will be getting an award for our services to the LGBT communities!

Stalls. Free refreshments, Presentations.

Come and talk to us at the Five Leaves bookstall

This event is free with no need to book

Venue: Nottingham City Council, Nottingham
Tuesday, 5th March
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Scavengers, a book launch with Darren Simpson

A striking allegory for our times, Scavengers explores the fine line between fear and prejudice, love and oppression, obedience and control, and questions what it means to be “civilised”.

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Do join us to help launch Darren Simpson’s debut novel for older children.

In association with Usborne Books

Free, refreshments provided. Let us know you are coming on

Drinks at 6.30pm, short reading and discussion at 7.00pm.

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 6th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Art for All: British socially committed art, from the 1930s to the Cold War, with Christine Lindey

Art historian Christine Lindey presents an illustrated talk on socially committed art, based on the life and work of thirty British artists active between the Depression years and the 1960s.

Many of the artists were engaged with groups like the Artists International Association or the Communist Party Arts Group.  She looks at their work, their subjects, their economic survival as artists and their patrons.  Artists include well known painters such as Josef Herman, Ruskin Spear and Eva Frankfurther whereas others have been quietly forgotten. Their work includes socialist realism, modernist art and wartime propaganda art.

Eva Frankfurther – Afro-Caribbean Waitresses c. 1955

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Ruskin Spear -  Workers Returning from Nightshift, 1942

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Tickets: £4 (students £2) including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on The book Art for All will be available at a discount on the night.

Part of the talk will include reference to the many German-Jewish emigre artists as part of our contribution to the Insiders/Outsiders national year long celebration of the contribution of German-Jewish emigres to British life and culture.


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 7th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Never Again - Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League 1976-1982, with David Renton

By 1976, the National Front had become the fourth largest party in Britain. In a context of national decline, racism and fears that the country was collapsing into social unrest, the NF won 19 per cent of the vote in Leicester, 100,000 votes in London and opened an office on High Pavement in Nottingham.

In response, an anti-fascist campaign was born, which combined action to deprive the Front of public platforms with a popular cultural movement. Rock Against Racism brought punk and reggae bands together as a weapon against the right including a major festival in Nottingham and a demonstration against the local NF headquarters.

Through the Anti-Nazi League hundreds of thousands of people painted out racist graffiti, distributed leaflets and persuaded those around them to vote against the right.

Darentonvid Renton tells the story of the National Front and the campaign which stopped it. Inevitably there will be some discussion about the rise of “Tommy Robinson” and the campaign against modern fascist and racist groups.

David Rention used to live in Nottingham, and is now a barrister in London. He has written many books, book chapters and articles on the history of the far right and resistance to it.
Tickets: £3.00 on the door including refreshments. Booking essential via
Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham Nottinghamshire
Tuesday, 12th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Litvak Fiction - Jewish fiction from Lithuania - with Noir Press

Tomas Venclova called Grigory Kanovich, ‘the last link in the chain of Litvak fiction’. But what is Litvak fiction? And who is Tomas Venclova? The talk will be a brief survey of the eclectic treasure chest that characterises Jewish fiction from Lithuania – from one of the first novels written in Hebrew, to the twentieth century classics written in French, Yiddish, Russian and Lithuanian. And has Litvak fiction really hung up its boots and gone into retirement?

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The talk will also cover Grigory Kanovich’s work and launch his novel Devilspel, published in English this month. Kanovich is the last Yiddish writer of his generation whose Shtetl Love Song was published last year and whose play, Waiting for Jehovah, was performed at the Barbican last year.

Introduced  by Stephan Collishaw from Noir Press.

Tickets: £3.00 on the door, including a glass of kvass (non-alcohol drink made from fermented bread). Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 13th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Irish Cursing: A Magical History, with Thomas Waters

Historian Thomas Waters explores the weird world of Irish maledictions and curses. He shows that Irish folklore went well beyond fairies, banshees, apparitions and holy wells.

Cursing was a righteous supernatural attack, which used clever wordplay and special rituals to smite evildoers. With roots in ancient times, this type of cursing remained extremely widespread during the modern era, as Ireland’s people fought over food, land, religion and politics. Although it’s declined recently, even today some people still throw angry maledictions.

In this talk, Dr. Waters introduces the history and principles of cursing, and explains why the Irish were so good at it. If you think ordinary swearing is handy for letting off steam, you’ve seen nothing yet.

May you wither up by the fire of hell soon and sudden, may the flesh rot off your bones and fall away putrid before your eyes, and may the consolation of eternal flames come to be your consolation in your last illness, and the hearthstone of hell be your pillow for ever. – from a letter sent to a Limerick landlord, in 1886.


A Nottingham Irish Studies Group event

Tickets: £3.00 including refreshments. Let us know you are coming on

St Brigid's cursing stone, Co. Cavan

Thomas Waters lives locally, in Beeston. He’s a lecturer in history at Imperial College London and author of Cursed Britain: A History of Evil Magic in Modern Times, which is due to be published in August by Yale University Press.



St Brigid’s cursing stone, Co. Cavan

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 14th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Joni Mitchell, critical listening with Ruth Charnock FULLY BOOKED

In this sound and image-illustrated talk, Ruth Charnock looks at Joni Mitchell’s work as a musician, composer, cultural commentator and antagonist, thinking particularly about Mitchell’s album Blue and its depiction of desire, free love, and the late ’60s, whilst also exploring Mitchell’s wider cultural contributions and significance. 

Media of Joni Mitchell

Ruth Charnock is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln, UK. She is the author of Anaïs Nin: bad sex, shame and contemporary culture (forthcoming). Her newly published edited academic book, Joni Mitchell: new critical reading  is normally £96… but we will have copies at £25 on the night!

Tickets: £3.00 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Ruth will also be speaking at States of Independence in Leicester on March 23. See our later separate listing for that event

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 21st March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
An evening with Kate Mosse

See booking note at end!

Kate Mosse is the author of six novels & short story collections, including the multi-million selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she is currently adapting for the stage. Her books have been translated into 37 languages and published in more than 40 countries. She has also written three works of non-fiction, four plays and curated a collection of short stories inspired by Wuthering Heights.

A champion of women’s creativity, Kate is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction – the largest annual celebration of women’s writing in the world – and sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World. She was named Woman of the Year for her service to the arts in the Everywoman Awards. Deputy Chair of the National Theatre in London, Kate hosts the pre & post performance interview series at Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex, Platform Events for the National Theatre in London, as well interviewing writers, directors, campaigners and actors at literary and theatre festivals in the UK and beyond.

Kate Mosse © Ruth Crafer 5584Kate will be launching the paperback of The Burning Chambers where old secrets cast long shadows.

In association with Nottingham City of Literature and Nottinghamshire Libraries/Inspire

Tickets: £5. Bar on site.


Venue: Beeston Library, Beeston
Saturday, 23rd March
11:00 am - 5:00 pm
The Tenth States of Independence

States of Independence is a book festival in a day, attended by several hundred people, featuring around 25 stalls and 25 events, organised by Five Leaves and the Creative Writing Team at De Montfort University.

All events are free and unticketed. There are usually readings, book launches, industry panels – all from the world of independent presses, independent writing, independent thinking.

Come for an hour or come for all day.

We have a cafe on site and all the events are free.

Venue: Clepham Building, Leicester
Monday, 25th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry, with Peter Manson and Sarah Hayden

Peter Manson (born Glasgow, 1969) is a poet and translator of poetry.  His books include English in Mallarmé (Blart Books), Poems of Frank Rupture (Sancho Panza Press),  Adjunct: an Undigest and For the Good of Liars (both from Barque Press), and Between Cup and Lip (Miami University Press, Ohio).  Miami UP also publish his book of translations, Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse.

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Some audio is available on the Archive of the Now website and on  Video on YouTube and Vimeo.  Contains mild peril.

PastedGraphic-1Sarah Hayden is a writer and academic. Her poetry chapbooks are sitevisit (Materials), Turnpikes (Sad Press), System Without Issue (Oystercatcher) and Exteroceptive (Wild Honey). Other poems and lecture-poems have appeared in Blackbox ManifoldGolden Handcuffs ReviewTripwiredatableed and elsewhere. She also writes for artists and art events and is an AHRC ECR Leadership Fellow on the ‘Voices in the Gallery’ project (2019-2021).

In association with Nottingham Poetry Exchange

Tickets: £3 including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Tuesday, 26th March
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
The World-Ending Fire, by Wendell Berry - Five Leaves book group

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Wendell Berry lives and works on his farm in Kentucky. In these essays he writes about nature, the food we eat, the land we live on. He lives without a computer, slowly… Berry is often mentioned as a modern-day Thoreau and as a prophet.

Our book group is open, come for one meeting or as many as you like, and is always the last week of the month. It’s free, and refreshments are provided. For the avoidance of doubt, Wendell Berry is not attending! There’s always a rather short introduction by one of the group or a member of Five Leaves’ staff to get the discussion going.

All we ask is you read the book in advance.

We don’t mind where you source the book, but in the lead up to the book group meeting we offer 15% off the title in question.

Let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 3rd April
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Prose Poems, with Jeremy Noel-Tod

Prose poems? Contradiction in terms? Nope, think Emma Lazarus, Allen Ginsberg, Baudelaire, Margaret Atwood, Claudia Rankine, Seamus Heaney, Eileen Myles, Anne Carson, Bertolt Brecht, Elizabeth Bishop… some of the biggest names in poetry write prose poems. At the very least, you’ll know them when you see them!

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Jeremy Noel-Tod will be reading some, and discussing the form. He is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, the poetry critic of the Sunday Times and teaches on the creative writing course at UEA.

In association with the School of English, University of Nottingham

Tickets: £3 on the door, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Wednesday, 10th April
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Town Hall, buildings, people and power, with Dawn Reeves

Everyone has them… our near neighbour with its Little John bells, its weddings and its protest pickets and all the fun of the fair outside, or at County Hall, that green roof and the statues outside representing our – past – workforce. Symbols of democracy, civic pride, power and, often, stunning architecture.

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This illustrated talk looks at the architecture and the politics of “the town hall” in this age of austerity, with examples from around the country. Diana Gillespie, who wrote about County Hall, will join the discussion.

In association with the East Midlands branch of the Twentieth Century Society.

Tickets: £3 on the door, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on


Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Thursday, 18th April
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Remembering Hillsborough, with David Cain and others

On 15 April, thirty years ago this week, in the opening minutes of the FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, 96 people died in what was the most serious tragedy in British sporting history. For almost thirty years survivors and the families of the dead campaigned against the police, government and the media who blamed the supporters for the tragedy. They eventually won and a second inquest ruled that the 96 were killed unlawfully because of failures by the police and the ambulance services. 

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David Cain will be reading from his epic poem which combines eye-witness testimonies of the survivors to create a piece that is part oral history, part documentary theatre.

Another speaker will be added later. The event will be chaired by  Wollaton councillor Steve Battlemuch, a regular at Forest matches, who was at the Forest end at Hillsborough.

Tickets: £3.00 on the door, refreshments included. Booking essential via

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Friday, 19th April - Sunday, 28th April
All Day
Nottingham Poetry Festival

Advance notice of Nottingham Poetry Festival. Readings by well known poets, poetry in pubs, poetry in performance. Bookfair.

Full programme to follow

Thursday, 25th April
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Poetry from John Harvey, with images by Molly Ernestine Boiling and more poetry from Stuart Henson

Join us for a belated 80th birthday celebration for local writer John Harvey (well, he lives in London now, but still comes back for Notts County matches!). John is best known for his crime fiction, but is also a poet with several collections to his name, and he used to edit the little magazine Slow Dancer and Slow Dancer Press.ASLANT COVER10

He will be reading with projections of photographs by Molly Ernestine Boiling, which also feature in the book.

His new collection, Aslant, will be published by Nottingham’s Shoestring Press




Stuart Henson’s new collection is also from Shoestring, featuring 46 new poems and selections from his first six books.  He will be reading the best of the best…. Here’s a review of the book in London Grip:

The Way You Know It

Free, refreshments provided. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Friday, 3rd May
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers with Anita Sethi


fbfOur first event for Feminist Book Fortnight. Join us in celebrating the publication of this crowd-funded anthology, edited by Kit de Waal.

Kit de Waal has brought  together thirty-three established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud and clear as they reclaim and redefine what it means to be working class. Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged and dispossessed. Common People is a collection of essays,poems and memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humour, reflecting the depth and texture of working-class life, the joy and sorrow, the solidarity and the differences.

Common People

We will be joined here at Five Leaves by contributor Anita Sethi (The Guardian, Observer, and judge of this year’s Costa Book Awards. She;s also been birdwatching with Margaret Atwood!).  Other speakers to be confirmed.

Anita Sethi

There will be readings from the book as well as a discussion of the use of crowdfunding as a way of getting diverse books published.



Tickets: £3.00 on the door, including refreshments. Please let us know you are coming on

Venue: Five Leaves Bookshop, Nottingham
Saturday, 4th May - Saturday, 18th May
9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Feminist Book Fortnight

fbfFeminist Book Fortnight is a Five Leaves initiative, launched in 2018, when fifty independent bookshops and other organisations set up talks, discussions, book launches, poetry readings and socials to celebrate feminist writing. from all over Britain and Ireland.  Shops have already committed to taking part in 2019, as have the four women’s libraries in Britain.  One shop is in Italy!  More are signing up all the time.

Organisation is decentralised, with Five Leaves providing a website, social media, press support and print.

Feminist Book Fortnight is supported by the Booksellers Association

Please contact if you are an independent bookshop, a literature promoter, library or any other organisation wishing to take part.

Our events: See 16th May event.  More to come!

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